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DISCOURSE XVIII, XIX.
PHILLIPIANS ii. 5.
2 TIMOTHY i. 10,
DISCOURSE XXI, XXII, XXIII,
On Christ's Authority as a Teacher.
MATTHEW vii. 28, 29,
And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended
these Sayings, the People were astonished at his Doctrine. For he taught them as one having Authority, and not as the Scribes.
AVING in some former Dif
Teaching, I now come to consider that which giveth Weight to all the rest, and in which he was eminently superior to all others that ever appeared under the Character of Teachers, Vol. IV.
viz. the Divine Authority with which he taught. : This was so remarkable, that the People could not help observing the signal, Difference there was in this Respect between him and the Scribes, who were Teachers of the greatest Reputation among them. It was especially after Jesus had finished his admirable Sermon on the Mount, that the People made this Reflection. They were astonished at þis Doctrine; at it's superior Purity and Excellency, so
1991 far transcending any thing they had ever heard before; and they were also astonished at the Authority and commanding Power with which he spoke. He taught them as
63 one having Authority, and not as the Scribes. The Scribes were the principal authorized Teachers among them. They had all the Authority which the chief Priests and Elders, the Heads of the Jewish Church and Nation, were able to give them. But the Authority Christ claimed was of a fac higher Kind. He did not found his Doctrine, as the Scribes were wont to do, upon the Authority of their ancient Doctors and great
Masters of Tradition. On the con. trary, having thewn in several Instances what were their Glosses in the Interpretation of the Law, he with great Solemnity declared against their Decisions in several Matters of no small Importance; to which
he opposed his own Determinations, in a Manner which plainly shewed, that he taught as having an Authority superior to theirs, an Authority not derived merely from Men, but from above. Thus the People understood it, and this seems to be what they principally intended in saying, that He taught as one having Authority, and not as the Şcribes ; i. e. as une having an extraordinary Divine Authority and Commiffion, which was what the Scribes, who were not Prophets, nor had the Power of working Miracles, could not pretend to.
But it may also farther signify, that he taught with a wonderful Gravity and Dignity, with a Power and Energy that struck and penetrated the Soul ; whereas the Scribes taught in a cold, formal, lifeless Way, that made little Impression upon the Heart. That Character given of the Word of God, Heb. iv. 12, might well be applied to our Saviour's Teaching; The Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the Dividing alunder of Soul and Spirit, and of the joints and Marrow, and is a Difcerner of the Thoughts and Intents of the Heart. And this particularly appeared in the great Effects his Preaching had even upon many of those that were called Publicans and Sina åers, in bringing them to a fincere Re